When it comes to naming your small business, not only do you need to come up with a great name, but you also need to make sure that it will stand the test of time and that you can pick up all the assets you need for it, such as a great URL!

In this article; we will run through some ideas to help you come up with a business name as well as some of the things you need to consider when you decide to choose a name.

Business vs Personal name

As the small business arena grows with independent freelancers and consultants, often entrepreneurs consider using their personal name as the name of the business. 

Using your own name means developing a personal brand rather than a business brand. What that means is that your personal brand tends to be built around your personality, your lifestyle and your interests. Any logo and branding created should reflect that. People will be attracted to you and your business because of who you are. This is especially useful if you work one on one with clients and you want the appeal of working with you to be communicated.

A business-named company usually has a business brand that is created based on how you want your clients to perceive your company. You can make your business brand look and feel any way you like and it does not have to be a direct reflection of who you are on a personal level. 

Note that if you chose to set up your company as a Sole Proprietorship, more often than not, you and the business are one in the same. You can register a trade name as a Sole Proprietor and use it as a “Doing business as” but for the sake of all your legal documents, bank accounts etc, the company is in your own name.

As an incorporated business you can have any name you like and that is how the business is referred to. Note though that you will need a name search carried out before incorporating to ensure that no one else is already using that name. 

Pro’s and Con’s of using a personal name

  • Trust can be more easily gained as customers can correlate a name with a face
  • Consumers tend to think that personal named companies offer better value for money
  • It gives a personal feel to your business
  • If your name is unique it will be easier to search for on Google and other search engines.
  • It places you at the center of your business
  • It’s an easy option – although if you have a common name you will want to make sure the URL is available.
  • Your name may change (marriage or divorce)
  • You may limit your growth 

Pros and Con’s of using a brand name

  • It separates you from your brand
  • It gives a sense the your company is bigger than just you
  • The assets (URLS and Name Registration) may not be available if the name is not unique
  • It makes selling your business easier if that’s an option
  • Brand names can help you attract ideal clients

Here are a few more tips to think about when choosing your business name

  • Avoid hard to spell names
  • Conduct a thorough internet search to see if anyone else is using the same name
  • Use a name that sounds good when said aloud
  • Don’t use places in the name unless you are location specific.
  • Consider the meaning of your chosen name in other languages if that is relevant to your business.
  • Pick something that is easy to pronounce and remember
  • Make sure you love it!

Need inspiration? Check out these websites that may help spark ideas:

Ultimately you can spend days, even weeks coming up with the perfect business name. There is no such thing – Think Google, Uber or Blackberry. It’s your overall brand and image that will make or break your business name so try not to overthink this part of the process.

My best advice is to think about the problem that you solve, who you help, and some feelings that you want to invoke in your potential clients and do some brainstorming around those. Once you’ve come up with a name you love, see if the URL is available and then do a google search on the name. If the name does not seem to be linked to anyone else, grab that URL and register your name. Then you are off to the races!